tv Sanjay Gupta MD CNN February 28, 2010 7:30am-8:00am EST
we'll do straight to the hospital to ask them a question. also, have you thought about possibly picking your insurance and not relying on your employer or company? i had a conversation about why that could be the answer to fixing some of our health care woes. and someone is having chest pain. that pain is going up and down their chest, sometimes you see them clutching their chest, but it is not a heart attack. it is a medical mystery. let's get started. this week there was a historic health summit at the white house. actually, the blare house across the street. the president sat down, the white house sat down with republicans to hammer down what health care reform might look like. one of the issues coming up over and over again is the cost. i can tell you as a doctor something in the system doesn't work and costs are too high. you would be amazed if you really sat down and thought about it what is driving up your
hospital bill. so i went to the operating room at the hospital where i work to try to bing bring you a closer look. one of the questions coming up all the time is what about the hospital bills? how exactly do they break down and make sense of it? no question, it leaves a lot of people scratching their heads. i'm going to take you inside this operating room. this is the hospital where i'm a neuro surgeon. and just having an operation performed in a room like this costs $3,000 an hour. that's for starters. come on in. i'll give you a couple quick examples. if you look at a hospital bill, you might see annive bag charge. it is an i.v. like this, it is about $280 just for a bag like this. that mike strike you as high. this is a stapler used in surgery that costs $1200. this is a chest tube if somebody has a compression of one of their lungs, they might need a chest tube that costs $1100. you will find examples like this all over the room like this. is a suture, this type of suture
costs about $200. if you look at even devices like -- this is a needle that's used for biopsies, if there's a concern someone has a tumor, they would use a needle like this to cost $800. it is important to keep in mind, if you ask the manufacturers of a device like this, why so much money? they will say it took years to develop something like. the research and develop costs are significant. also, guaranteeing a certain level of effectiveness of this needle costs money as well. but something maybe you didn't know, when you look at a hospital bill, it is not just the cost of the supplies. there's also administrative costs built in, there's the cost of covering people who simply don't have insurance or can't pay. that's built under these costs as well. finally, keep in mind, that what is charged and what is ultimately paid are two very different numbers. >> the typical hospital collects about 4% of every dollar that they -- about 4 cents of every dollar that they bill. so it is not coming out in massive profits, it is coming
out as a result of underpayment from the government. >> i'll tell you, the cost breakdown like i just gave you on lots of different supplies, a lot of people simply never see. what we have found is a lot of people don't care as well. if you are insured, some people may not even open the hospital bill, through there are 150,000 people uninsured who care about the hospital bills like this. call the hospital to get a detrailed detailed breakdown. why on the phone with the hospital, if the cost seems high or to hard to understand, you might be able to negotiate the prices down. we are going to ask a doctor a question that has to do with a scan right behind me. stay with us. p? ok. absolutely! where's the music? ♪ i have a lot of stuffiness at night. allergies. i was just diagnosed with a deviated septum. here's how it works... [ female announcer ] nasal congestion limits air flow but breathe right's patented reflex action gently lifts open nasal passages to help you get more air. oh, yeah. yeah, you're right. i'm getting more air.
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asked this. a colleague of mine died suddenly while shoveling snow. first we thought he suffered cardiac arrest, but he had a ruptured aneurysm. he was 45 years old. what caused an aneurism and why do they strike so suddenly? first of all, peggy, i'm sorry to hear about your friend. we deal with ruptured aneurysms in the brain quite a bit. in fact, the scan you see behind me shows the type of imaging we often get if we are suspicious that someone might have an aneurism. if my finger were a blood vessel, an aneurism is a blister on top of that blood vessel that is weak. sometimes too much blood gets in there and it can start to bleed into the brain. that's why it occurs so suddenly. oftentimes, people have a terrible headache and it feels like somebody hit them with a 2 by 4 and the bleeding in the brain causes problems. in surgery here we try to put a clip across the aneurysm to save the patient and make sure it never happens again.
just about five months from now i'll be in new york city competing in the new york city try@log. as i started to think about this, it, i don't want to do this alone. so we picked six cnn viewers from around the country to train with me and be a part of all this fun. so today we are going to check in on two of them, angie brohard and meredith clark to see how they are doing. take a look. training for the new york city try@log is not the biggest challenge angie has faced. >> i was diagnosed with best cancer last april. i was out of shape. and when the channel came along, i thought, it would be the perfect thing, not only to get myself back in shape again, but to show other people that they can get in shape, too. >> as you sort of have looked at the challenge that lies in front of you, what are you most her vows about and most excited about? >> well, i'm excited because i think i'll be in really good condition. i think i'll feel healthy. i think the swimming will be
great. i'm most worried about the swimming. i can swim, but i've never really swam. >> but it hasn't been as big a challenge as she anticipated, either. with the help of a swimming trainer, she is getting more and more comfortable in the pool. >> every time i feel stronger, i can go a little further before i rest, so it's coming. >> our other participant, meredith clark, had her own concern. >> there's, of course, the huge possibility of crashing and burning on tv. >> it turns out, it's real life that presents the greatest challenges. >> being in the office is difficult, especially in a newspaper office because we believe in eating and eating well and eating a lot. >> and schedules. >> the workouts themselves aren't really difficult. what i find hard is managing my time to fit the workouts in. >> but she's fitting it all in, walking around the parking lot at work, exercising with the help of a trainer.
early morning kettle bell classes, she is even spinning. for both athletes the journey ahead will be long but doable. >> there's only 150 days left, so it makes me kind of want to ramp up my efforts. >> i feel stronger all the time, but i feel like once i can get this done, i think i can close that chapter and put that best cancer behind me and i'll feel like it is over and i've cop cur conquered it. all right, guys. you are doing pretty well. we are going to be looking for the rest of you soon, very soon. coming up next on "sgmd." we are talking about hx. a lot of discussion about this, what is happening and what is going to happen? we'll talk to a top conservative who say this is. the democratic plans are a mess, but she does concede as well we do need to make health care more affordable and more available. the question is how? and what does it mean for you and your wallet? we'll decipher it all in plain english. stay with us.
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you know, every weekon this program i'm going to take you into the life of some of the most fascinating people we have met. people changing your world right know, scientists, medical innovators, and celebrities. this week we'll cut through the noise on health care with a different perspective, probably something you have not heard. it is not politics, it is just
straight talk in plain english. regina is an author of a book about health care. she was also an adviser to john mccain during his campaign. >> thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> may i call you rem jooe? >> yes. >> are you still in contact with john mccain? >> no. >> have you stopped advising him? >> yes, since the campaign, yeah. >> when did your interest in health care begin? how did it begin? >> well, i did my doctoral thesis in a neighborhood hill center. and the thesis was about measuring the performance of physicians and seeing if when they got the data they would change their behavior. i was interested in getting better value for the money. >> i want to talk about some of the comparisons in a little more detail.
universal health care. this is something you believe in. >> absolutely. >> you add vised republican candidates, so that would surprise a lot of people as a starting point. >> right. >> what is the republicans obligation? >> they have a plan. the plan is to create high-risk pools for sick people who otherwise couldn't afford health insurance to give subsidies to the state that is would run the high-risk pools, meaning groups for sick people. and the plan is good news, it is cheap. it only costs about $60 billion. bad news, it only covers 3 million people. >> to the people who are looking to those 50 million uni sured, this doesn't sound like a very effective plan at all. >> absolutely. >> do you agree with the white house plan? or the republicans plan? >> well, i think the white house plan is fantastic for getting closer to universal coverage.
i would like universal coverage, which shows the american people that the price tag is a trillion dollars. a trillion dollars is a heck of a lot of money, especially when we are in a recession. and i think the american people don't believe that the white house plan will control costs. >> do you think it could? >> no, i don't. >> well, the public option, which was a big discussion point over the last year now, more than that, it doesn't seem to be on the table anymore. and the idea was that this would provide an honest broker, if you will, against all the private insurance companies. why is that a bad idea? >> well, the private insurance companies are no saints. they deserve some real competition. but the problem with the public option is if you look at a public plan like medicare, all the seniors love medicare. and the reason they love medicare is they are not paying
for much of it. medicare has an unfunded liability of $38 trillion. in plain english, medicare is sticking our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren with the tab for providing medicare. if we had a public plan with the u.s. congress, would they suddenly develop more backbone and not underprice the public plan pandering to current generations of voters and thinking, well, future generations, they are not going to vote for me. that's the scary thing about it. >> so what can we all agree on? well, i asked reggie what she thought was the common ground. her answer surprised me. stay with us. i always keep it in the house well, that and boston crème pie, white chocolate strawberries, ya ya - oh! and key lime pie i've already lost some weight
regina is the author of "who killed health care." it was a best seller. she is also a professor at harvard business school. in the past she advised many republican candidates, including most recently senator john mccain. we started off by talking about the moral imperative as an argument for universal health care. and then you said more recently that the private insurance companies are no saints in all of this. >> right. >> if private insurance policy could fix this problem and address some of the concerns you are raising, why haven't they done it? >> yeah. well, the private insurance right now is not selling to consumers. they are selling to businesses, or they are selling to governments. businesses and governments don't have the same kinds of issues that consumers had. if they had to sell to a consumer and they screwed that
consumer in the delivery of health insurance, specifically, when that person got sick they said, no, you are going to have to go through hell in order to get health care, there would be tremendous uproar about that in a consumer-driven market. >> but what you're describing happens, though. driven market. >> what you are describing happens though? >> absolutely. >> you have people being denied and going through red tape. >> absolutely. in a consumer driven market they would have much less, and the reason i say that is switzerland have a consumer-driven market, and they have universal coverage but they buy their own health insurance. they have the highest rate of satisfaction for health care in the world. the swiss have 84 insurance companies. the country is the size of the state of massachusetts in
population, and we have 15. do they ration care over there? >> no, they have more usization. they have really cool insurance policies. suppose you don't smoke, and suppose you start exercising three times a week, and suppose you change the things abusive in your life, you could buy a health insurance policy where if you stay healthy it gives you 40% of your money back. in massachusetts, that means if i stay healthy, i would get back $40,000 the end of five years. would that motivate me to get healthy?
you bet. the employer doesn't think the employee will be around for five years. >> in this case, they are greedy and not want to cover people who are sick, and they want to make money and that means covering healthy people and denying claims. >> right. >> why won't that still happen? >> we need government reform. the president needs to say if you see a sick person you have to cover them and you cannot charge them an egg soeshant kind of price. >> are we going to wait a long time? >> we can't afford to let it slide. health care is destroying the economy of the united states.
and we have 50 million uninsured and the indians spend $49 per person on year on health care and how can we survive unless we solve this problem. >> i know you feel strongly about it. will it happen? >> we have to solve this problem. >> and that's why you are the godmother of consumer health care. howard schultz said he spends more on health care than coffee beans, and he is the ceo of starbucks. thank you. we have new evidence out there showing taxing high fat and sugary foods may make a difference in the obesity epidemic. researchers asked mom to shop in a mock supermarket. now, it turns out what they found is making the junk food
price here ended up cutting calories of the purchase. and when you cut the cost of the health foods, the mom just bought more junk with the extra money. if you make healthy food and junk food closer to the same price, it's probably going to take some time for habits to change. and millions go to the emergency room each year with chest pain, and it's not a heart attack, so what could it be? our medical mystery will solve it after the break. more wings ! no way he'll be in first thing tomorrow. only alka-seltzer relieves your upset stomach, heartburn, indigestion and headache... so you're good to go in the morning. you're late. alka-seltzer brings you back. speaking of, what's on friday's menu? friday is fish day.
we are back with "sgmd." i followed a 12-year-old girl who survived the earthquake in kimberly. i ended up operating on her in the "uss karl vincent." a few weeks later i met up with her again when she recovered and was able to return to port-au-prince. she did not know much about the earthquake, because she had been taking to the hospital. she learned she lost her mother and her sister and her home. i can tell you that a lot of people touched by the story of kimberly. i could not stop thinking about her after i left. now we have a bit of good news
to share with you. there was an organization called can do. they watched cnn coverage and came to us and said they wanted to help. they started to take lots of supplies to the particular area. the neighborhood where kimberly was was ten minutes away from tent city, but they simply had not gotten any supplies for a month. the reason you see the smile is because the organization started to help her and many others get into homes. i can tell you, you know, there are lots of people who still remain in kimberly's situation, probably hundreds of thousands and they still need help. but at least for kimberly, it's great to see that smile again. a bit of good news. and now for this week's medical ministry. what mimics a heart attack. a gal bladder attack and even a panic attack. probably the most common one is heartburn, because it can give you the sharp burning sensation
in your chest just below your breastbone. when you eat, you see this open to allow food to come in. and then it closes. and when that opens there, the acid starts to go up and that is what causes the symptoms that can sometimes be confused with a heart attack. take a look at this image over here. this is what it looks like when the esophagus has acid on it. and keep in mind, if you have chest pains always take them seriously, especially if the pain radiates beyond the chest to the neck and arm and shoulders, and that should be an important sign for men and women alike. be her and check out my podcast